Saturday, 16 February 2019

Am I Ugly?

  Come February and we see a lot of Award functions taking place in Hollywood. And Award functions mean introducing new style quotients and attitudes displayed through strong statements in recipients' speeches. One such speech caught my attention from a recent Award ceremony. The rebellious Pop Star PINK told a short conversation she had with her six year old daughter while she was driving her to school. The young lady asked her mother "Am I beautiful?" Obviously, early in the morning, the celebrity mother didn't know where this was coming from. So she asked her what made her ask this question and the young one replied "Everyone says I look like a boy with long hair. I ain't pretty!" 

Pink did not say anything then, but after school, she gave the girl a Power point Presentation about many androgynous artistes and their works, such as Freddy Mercury, Elton John, George Michael, and Lady Gaga and so on. And in the end she also told about herself. She said that often people criticized her too about her not –so –feminine looks and her short boyish hair and clothes. But that did not make her change her appearance, style or attitude. She still continued to be herself and create wonderful music that everyone loved. So what was important was to feel beautiful from inside. One need not change oneself to suit others but one needs to continue being what one believes in. Pink could explain all this to her daughter as she could talk and raise her doubts. But many times, this imitation to please others starts at an early age in children. Children observe their parents and their reactions very closely. Once they understand what kind of behaviour is rewarded with positive reinforcements, they try to repeat the same. Similar is the case with their attitudes. Children’s attitude depends on the parents’ responses in their early lives.

Do physical appearances matter in case of parents’ love and affection towards their children? Or is parental love not affected by the child’s physical features such as complexion, skin types and so on? All of us have heard about the famous story of Akbar and Birbal where the Emperor asks Birbal the question as to who is the most beautiful child in the world and Birbal proves through their tour to the slums of the Agra city that this is the most difficult question to answer as every mother feels her child to be the most beautiful child in the world.

But, honestly speaking, there are always exceptions to all universal rules. So in this case too, many times, parents do feel that their own child is not beautiful, good-looking or presentable. And it is then that the thought is reflected through one’s actions subconsciously in daily encounters with the children. Some parents can’t stop their angst and even compare and appreciate other children in front of their own children for their physical looks/features. Children being great observers pick these hints through their parents’ actions and start feeling low about their physical appearances. At times there can be a rebellious reaction too from the children. Children may want to prove their worth and seek attention of the parents through all kinds of destructive/loud/violent acts.

So, does that mean we as parents keep pampering our children over their looks? Do we keep telling them again and again that they are beautiful? At the cost of making them feel superior to others? No. The first thing that we need to understand although there are certain common milestones of development in children every child is UNIQUE.  No two children can be similar in all respects; while one may be born with immaculate physical features, for the other child you may have to take some efforts to make him/her look good. But in both the cases, it is important that you respect their individuality and their differences. Never compare them and try to make them similar because they are not Robot like machines. Their minds are programmed for thinking and learning differently. Similarly their features are made to look different.

Children will feel comfortable about their physical appearances if you make them feel so. You need to cuddle them, hug them, love them and especially listen to them peacefully whenever you can. Comfortable physical spaces make it easier for children to accept their personalities.  And loving physical actions such as hugging, kissing, patting, handshakes make children feel secure, comforted and loved. You need to think from the perspective of a 3 year old or a 5 year old child for whom YOU are the world. S/he sees your image in every other human being in the world.

So, if you want them to become strong personalities when they grow up, you need to start with making them respect their body and say: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and nothing more.

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